September 14, 2020 Read More →

Less than 1% of BLM land qualifies for solar development

Saur Energy:

The Bureau of Land Management, the single biggest steward of real estate in the US, often finds itself in the crossfire of heated arguments over how best to use and/or protect the more than 250 million acres it is responsible for across the American West. The agency is supposed to see that its lands are managed in the national interest and in a way that meets a long list of responsible-use requirements.

Its lands are categorised to be used for land resource development – mostly logging, grazing, mining and gas and oil extraction — and in this arena, the agency has lagged in responding to America’s shift to renewables in the national energy economy. An overview by the agency published last year showed renewable energy development accounting for less than 1 percent of economic activity on BLM lands, while 70 percent was controlled by oil and gas interests.

As explained in a report IEEFA published earlier this year, the agency’s approach to utility-scale solar shows why. Less than 1 percent of BLM land across the sun-rich southwestern US— lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah — are qualified for solar energy development under BLM’s rules. Much more is potentially available under special variance rules — some 19 million acres out of the more than 100 million managed in the region — but those rules are a significant and an unevenly administered constraint on new solar development. 

[Ayush Verma]

More: American Land Agency Lagging Behind in Shift to Renewables: IEEFA

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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